Make Ahead

The World's Best Carrot Cake

February 25, 2011
5 Ratings
  • Makes 1 9-inch cake
Author Notes

This isn't really my recipe. I originally got this recipe from a college friend, who got it from her grandmother (who, is a classic Jewish Grandma and is also the originator of the World’s Best Rugalach recipe). I made it for my family for my youngest brother’s confirmation party, and was begged/forced, practically under the threat of disinheritance, to copy the recipe into my mom’s little recipe book immediately. Since then, my mother has served it at every special event she hosts, and it has become famous across the entire town where my parents live. This cake is so good, my dad, who usually couldn’t care less for cake, will look for excuses for it to be served, and will even eat leftovers of it for breakfast. Which, by the way, I highly recommend. It’s kind of a spectacularly sinful breakfast. It is very moist and dense, not one of those light fluffy types of carrot cakes (of course, if you prefer those you might not really like this one. But, that's okay. More for me!) —fiveandspice

What You'll Need
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 cups finely shredded/grated carrot
  • 8 ounces crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, lightly toasted
  • your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe
  1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Grease and four a 9 in. round cake pan or a bundt pan. I usually use a 9 inch springform pan.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add oil, sugar and vanilla to eggs. Beat well. Stir in dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in carrots, walnuts, and pineapple. Scrape into the greased cake pan (I do not believe in dividing 2 layer cakes between 2 pans, I think they have much better texture if you bake it all in one thick layer and then cut it in half horizontally. It gives a much better surface texture in the middle for interfacing with frosting.).
  3. Bake until cake springs back when pressed and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (I cannot remember how long this actually takes, I just always go by testing, but I think it’s just a bit over an hour. Less if you're using a bundt pan).
  4. Let cool about 10 min. Loosen edges with a knife and invert onto a plate, then place a serving platter over the cake and holding the cake between the plate and the serving platter, flip it again so that it is right side up on the serving dish. Or if you are using a springform pan, just remove the outside. If desired (which, of course it is), allow to cool completely then frost with your favorite recipe of cream cheese frosting. I usually cut the cake in half and spread the frosting in a layer on the bottom half, then put the top half back on, but leave that unfrosted and sprinkle it with powdered sugar to decorate before serving. You could also just frost the top (and if you made a bundt, that's kind of the only surface available for frosting). I don’t think it needs frosting on more than one layer though, unless you feel like popping from sheer richness.
  5. To make a simple cream cheese frosting, beat together 1 package of softened cream cheese with 2-3 Tbs. of softened butter (unsalted) and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth. Beat in confectioner's sugar until you reach the consistency of frosting you like (about 1 cup, or so, in my experience).
Contest Entries

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Naomi Smith
    Naomi Smith
  • mrslarkin
  • fiveandspice
  • H Bell
    H Bell

10 Reviews

Naomi S. April 3, 2021
Hi there! is this recipe using AP flour or a cake flour?
H B. December 1, 2019
I’m not much of a baker but this recipe is - hands down - the best carrot cake I’ve ever eaten. It garners rave reviews. Easy to throw together and It keeps for days. Just quit looking and make it!
Gen October 14, 2019
This has been one of my favourite recipes for years - thanks from everyone this cake has ever touched! 💛
Kathryn April 21, 2019
This cake had no distinctive flavor- neither the crumb nor the frosting. It also tasted very greasy. I was really disappointed.
Linda September 28, 2015
In the south, we add lots of pecans to the frosting also.
Ece K. March 8, 2011
Can you please give you favorite creme cheese frosting recipe as well?
fiveandspice March 8, 2011
Of course! I'll add it to the recipe once it is open for editing again. But, a quick version is, one package of cream cheese (I think they're usually 8 oz.?), softened, 1/2 stick butter softened and 1 tsp. vanilla extract. Beat this together in an electric mixer until well blended and smooth. Then, beat in confectioner's sugar until it reaches the consistency and flavor you want (I usually go on the low sugar quantity side because I like my cream cheese frosting tangy).
Renee B. February 5, 2014
Could you please post your favorite cream cheese frosting recipe? Is it from your friend's grandmother too?
mrslarkin February 25, 2011
fiveandspice February 26, 2011
Thanks! It's a family favorite!!